Back To Home Learning?

Since February last year I have written weekly diary posts for my blog. It is a nice way to capture random thoughts and what is happening with my family. They are my chance to record all those lovely little moments which are easy to forget but aren’t enough for a blog post on their own. At times I can hear Carrie Bradshaw’s voice in my head as I write them, but my posts are less Sex in the City than Chaos in the Suburbs.

walking on a chalk rainbow on the pavement with a thank you NHS message on our daily allowed exercise to take a break from school

Life changed 5 or so weeks ago. Fear replaced freedom and suddenly so much of what we took for granted was gone. Some days I am overwhelmed while others I pass in a quiet acceptance. Add in the exhaustion from relentless childcare (and in the case of my youngest it pretty much is 24/7), the loss of social interaction and not even the break of a calm browse of the supermarket and I find most days I’m too exhausted to write.

Since the beginning of March we have had money worries, attempts at home learning and new house rules to help manage the changes. My stress level is constantly so high that even when I think I am calm, I have found I am one small action away from shouting or crying. I know it isn’t easy for anyone else either and other than the new home rules (around tidying and screen time) I have kept things as relaxed as I can at home over the last few weeks.

Back to Home Learning?

The Easter holidays are officially over today and while I did PE with Joe this morning I didn’t even encourage my eldest to join in. The first week of home learning after the schools closed we worked together to create a list of what she would like to do each day. This gave us structure and activities. It also didn’t give me a break. It was hard work managing the 3 children on my own all day and creating activities that could be adapted for each. We did science, maths, art, English, cooking through a combination of workbooks and fun activities. I was never trying to replicate school, rather to continue M’s love of learning and to keep the girls entertained.

M then spent a week at her Dad’s before returning at what was effectively the Easter holidays. I wanted to make sure she continued to do some writing and reading aloud each day so these important skills didn’t regress. I tried to get her to do a page in her workbook and she threw everything right back in my face. Apparently she didn’t like being here because I made her work all day, she was only happy to come here this time because it was the holidays and she wouldn’t have to work. I tried to point out that she was only ever doing a very small amount of formal learning (like the workbooks) but somehow in her head: baking, crafts, growing plants etc had all turned into school work. I decided right then I had had enough.

My eldest daughter is smart, but she doesn’t like it when she finds things difficult. The more she forgets while the schools are closed the more she will struggle when they reopen, but I will not spend my days fighting with her. She asked for Maths and English workbooks for Christmas because she enjoyed doing them, but the recent feeling that she HAS to do them has ruined it. 

So today I decided I will not be asking her to do anything school related. Perversely she chose to get dressed in a school summer dress (but she has decided she doesn’t like her clothes so that doesn’t mean much) and she knew we were doing PE with Joe but other than coming in to the room to make a few rude comments she didn’t join in.

Baby Boy got increasingly cranky during PE so before having a shower, or even my breakfast, I took him up for a nap. After 45 minutes unsuccessfully trying to get him to sleep I went to put some washing on and M asked me for paper. She had got her atlas out and decided she was going to do some geography work writing about Africa. Good for her.

I am still upset and angry about her attitude to the home learning we have done and right now I have no inclination to lead on doing anything. Screen time will be banned during school hours (other than for PE) and we’ll see what happens. I wont spend my time arguing with my children or neglecting my youngest while forcing my very strong willed eldest to do things she doesn’t want to do. I said from the outset that I would be taking a relaxed approach to home learning and now it’s even more hands off.

I just hope the schools can safely reopen soon.

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